When French voters cast their ballots in the presidential runoff on April 24, the result will be seen far beyond our borders. For now, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen offer opposing views of France’s place on the world stage. He is in favor of increasing concerted EU sanctions against Vladimir Putin, while she is against any oil or gas embargo. The incumbent backs joint defense work, while his far-right rival wants France to give up NATO’s integrated military command. In the midst of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, who is the right candidate for this moment?
It is the cost of living, not foreign policy, that is on voters’ minds. But the price increases are not happening in a vacuum. What lessons can be drawn from the ongoing global struggle for goods and raw materials and the excessive dependence on Russian oil and gas? Is it better for France to negotiate alone or as part of a larger EU on energy, health care and immigration?
Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.